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Involvement is Essential


by F. Lamar Pearson, Jr.

Worshipful Brother Pearson is Editor of The Masonic Messenger,

official publication of the Grand Lodge of Georgia. We thank him for

providing this thought-provoking manuscript for use as a Short Talk


What to do with the newly-made Mason is a challenge that has faced

Worshipful Masters, subordinate Lodges and Grand Lodges perhaps more

than any other question. The fledgling Mason abounds with enthusiasm

and energy he is ready to work and eager for an assignment. It is

precisely at this time that many Lodges fail miserably.

Indecisiveness on the part of Lodge leadership and inertia on the

part of Lodge members allow a priceless resource to go neglected and

which will probably never be

utilized properly.

There are a number of reasons for this neglect and lack of

utilization. Too frequently, Worshipful Masters are pushed through

the Lodge stations so quickly that they reach the East unprepared and

immature. In short, they don't know how to identify potential skills,

much less how to utilize the people who possess them. Accordingly,

there is a remarkable lack of management by objective. Secondly, the

immaturity of the Master literally propels him to surround himself

with his close friends to the point that a clique of personality

sometimes emerges, and those who do not belong to it do

not get the opportunity to serve or to be recognized in a

constructive way. This type of management often permits a Past Master

to control the Lodge in ways that he perhaps never intended. Ritual

tends to be performed by a select few potential dramatists seldom

get an opportunity, and when they do, it is often too

This lack of involvement is very readily demonstrated by the small

number of Brothers who attend Lodge Communications. Lodges can count

themselves blessed if they have as many as ten percent in attendance.

The brethren regret the statistical facts and often ask why. The

obvious answer, non-involvement of Brothers, rarely impresses itself

upon their minds, and when it does, the brethren ask how this

involvement can be accomplished how can these newly-made Masons, who

fall by the

wayside each year, be retained.

There are some basic answers to these questions. The problem is

readily capable of solution. Determination to meet the problem and

stick with the treatment for it on a sustained basis is very

difficult at best. Lodges did not create their problems overnight

accordingly, it will take more than a day to solve them.

One of the most discernible ways to involve newly-raised Masons

immediately is in the area of Lodge Visitation and Relief. Not much

expertise is required, and there is a fabulous opportunity for the

Brother to gain valuable experience. Each Masonic Lodge reflects a

vast range of ages and conditions among its members. Ages range from

twenty-one in most Jurisdictions, to more than one hundred.

Many Lodges have a considerable number of their brethren who are

emeritus. Herein lies a golden opportunity, for these brethren

constitute a veritable wealth of experience, knowledge and talent.

They are usually eager to share in each of these areas. They are

literally waiting to be asked. All too frequently they are not asked.

Many of these brethren are quite willing to go to Lodge, but cannot

unless assisted. Cataracts are the reason for many. Even though

operations are very successful, night

driving is out of the question for many. Then there are those

brethren who need physical assistance to get to Lodge. Many Lodges

have faced reality and installed elevators and riding chairs for the

infirm. Coronary disease inflicts the young as well as the old. It is

a wise Lodge which addresses itself to the needs of the Brethren.

There are also those Brethren who feel because of age or health that

they cannot leave their wives alone. Here is an excellent opportunity

for the wives of the brethren to get

involved by sitting with these ladies while the men go to Lodge.

A wise Master can utilize the newly-made Masons in this area most

effectively. Think of the wonderful instruction these senior

Craftsmen can impart. Think also of the precious example their lives

set for these impressionable Craftsmen. What an opportunity exists

here for teaching, learning, sharing, caring and for growing. The

most fantastic examples are being set, and a young Mason is being

molded in the finest tradition possible.

Many elderly Masons live in retirement homes. Often they are unable

to go to Lodge. A special opportunity exists here for the newly

initiated. Visits to these brethren mean so much. A visit, albeit it

brief, is two-edged. The old Mason is cheered by it, and the young

Mason is richly rewarded internally. He builds up that store of rich,

vibrant, experience that adds so much to the construction of his

spiritual temple.

There are the Masonic widows. Women on the average, have a

considerably longer lifespan than do their husbands. Most Lodges have

a responsibility to a large number of widows. A resourceful Master

can and should have at least one Widow's Night each year, and the

Lodge widows should be included in all social and festive events. It

is important that visits be made on a regular basis to insure the

widow's welfare. Newly-made Masons and their wives should visit the

widows in the company of older Brothers. The Brothers and their wives

can help the widow to shop they can assist her in

meeting appointments with the physician and the dentist. They can see

to it that she gets to and from church, and vitally they insure by

their presence and concern that she is important as a person - as a

special creation of God.

Every Mason should visit his Grand Lodge Home for Children or the

elderly if the Grand Lodge has one. Surprisingly few do this. Those

who do, need no convincing as to the reason to contribute toward the

Institutional Endowment Fund. The new Brother should be involved

immediately in an educational plan designed to acquaint him with the

Home and the need to support it. More importantly, his education

should be enhanced by visiting the institution. Lodges should make

visits at special times. This group would yield benefits far out of

proportion of the effort expended.

Virtually every Masonic Temple or Lodge Hall has something for the

new Brother to do. Periodic physical maintenance of interiors and

exteriors comes immediately to mind. Most Lodges are feeling the bite

of inflation. Work formerly contracted, such as painting, could and

should be undertaken by the brethren. All of the Brothers will feel

better as a result of such a group experience. Funds saved can be

well spent on charitable and educational activity.

Some Lodges make a point of involving newly-made Masons in the

preparation of newsletters and Trestle Boards. Often the new Brother

has journalistic skill, typing ability, or other talents that make

him particularly suited for this type of activity.

Secretaries often ask for and receive help in making more coherent

order out of files. This can be and often is tedious work, but it is

work that must be done. And the Brethren will not know who will or

will not do it until they ask.

The Lodge each year should have an every member canvass. Physical

contact should be established with each Brother if possible.

Questions should be asked as to why a Brother has not attended Lodge.

Ideas and suggestions should be solicited from all to ascertain what

can be done to improve the Lodge. The physical visit will point out

to the Brother that his brethren are interested and that he is


Often these visits yield immediate, widespread and long-range


Sometimes Lodges learn for the first time that a Brother is ill, that

he has serious financial problems. Pride frequently has prevented the

wife or other family member from asking for and receiving help. The

problem, however, is that so few Lodges have anything resembling a

real visitation program and few if any newly-made brethren are

involved in it.

One of the really great areas of the Lodge in which to involve the

newly-made Mason is in DeMolay, Rainbow Girls, and Job's Daughters

activities. The youth of Masonry are involved here. There is simply

no better area for Masons to invest time and talent, both of which

are sorely needed-especially talent. Too frequently the brethren are

prone to write a check when time is the greater of the needs. Time

spent in worthwhile activity yields benefits of an intangible nature,

often years away before full

realization. But these benefits are the most special. To see a young

boy and girl grow up to become a fine man and woman is to savor life

at its finest. And this is the essence of Freemasonry, to take the

good man and to make him better.

A word is in order concerning Family Nights. There is no doubt that

the family needs must be considered if healthy Masonic growth is an

objective of the Lodge. A plan of Masonic education which includes

the wife is essential. The Investigating Committee should insist that

she be present when it calls on her husband. She should be told that

it will be necessary for her husband to be away from home for

purposes of instruction at certain times. It should be stressed to

her and to him that Masonry strongly supports the concept of the

family, and that it is never to interfere with a family's


The newly-made Mason should be encouraged to coach candidates as soon

as he is qualified. This will do much to imprint upon his mind the

ritual and the catechism. More often than not this responsibility

will send the new coach to the books to search for answers and to

delve more deeply into the symbolism with which he is involved. Every

Lodge should have a well-stocked library that is added to on a

regular basis. All Masons, young and old, should be encouraged to

consult Mackey, Pike, Pound, Newton and a host of others. The new

Brother ought to make it a habit to read The

Philalethes, the New age, The Short Talk Bulletin, Quotuor Coronati

Transactions, Knight Templar Magazine, and others that members of the

Lodge receive. There ought to be time to discuss Masonry at all

Communications. All of this will help to ground our new Brother in

the fundamentals. It will help him to be a better coach and thereby a

better Mason.

The above mentioned areas are simplistic in nature. All are well-

known and all are in operation, to a degree, in some Lodges. The

problem, however, is that there is no really systematic attempt in

too many Lodges to employ all or, in some, any of them. We need to

return to these basic fundamentals that have stood the test of time.

There is no better time to start than with the present class of



Involvement is essential.
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